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Analyzing Webpage Performance with AJAX Edition 4
What makes older versions of IE so slow as compared to newer versions of Firefox?
By: Andreas Grabner
Mar. 1, 2013 02:00 PM
It's been a while since we released the last major version of Compuware dynaTrace AJAX Edition. With AJAX Edition 4 we introduce the capability to test across all versions of Internet Explorer (IE) starting with IE6 and all versions of Firefox starting with 3.6.
Why is this important? Well, check out the test results of several pages we tested on IE6, 7 and 8 and contrast them with tests of the same pages using Firefox 16 and 18. A product page on Zappos.com loads in 1.3 seconds in Firefox 18 as compared to 5.6 seconds in IE6. That is four times slower on IE's rather ancient browser. Despite a concerted effort by the industry to get people to use updated browsers (including this one by Microsoft), we're still seeing a big mix in the browser versions people use to access websites. That means it's important to analyze webpage performance across browser versions to ensure your site functions and performs as it's supposed to.
In this article I want to show you how to do it and what the typical differences in performance are.
Step 1: Download Free Compuware dynaTrace AJAX Edition
Step 2: Capture Data Across Multiple Browsers
Click on "Click here to start tracing" and select either IE or Firefox. As you will be testing a web page you will be prompted for a name and a URL that you assign to that name, e.g., Zappos and zappos.com. Click "Run" and AJAX Edition will launch your browser and navigate right to that URL.
The AJAX Edition toolbar in IE and Firefox (here it's a status bar) indicates that the browser is connected to AJAX Edition and capturing all performance-relevant data while the browser is connected.
You may need to modify your browser's settings for this step to work properly. Check out our tips page for more information.
Step 3: Analyze High-level KPIs
All sessions are now available for analysis. Double-clicking a session opens the Performance Report showing high-level KPIs for each URL visited.
If you want to know the details about how these KPIs are calculated you can read up on them on our Best Practices on Web Performance Optimization community page.
Check out the following table that shows the key metrics across the different browsers for one of the product pages. The Fully Loaded time is the important metric to look for and the Client Time (Java Script Time) is the one metric with the biggest contribution to that Fully Loaded time:
When looking at the Timeline View of the fastest (IE8) and the slowest (IE6) browsers, it is easy to spot where the differences are during page load:
Step 4: Deep-dive Analysis
If you want to learn more about the deep-five diagnostics options I recommend, check out the online video tutorials on the specific views: AJAX Edition Tutorials.
Step 5: Compare Against Your Competition
On Speed of the Web you can select a category and see how your web performance optimization efforts compare to your competition.
Speed of the Web not only provides the KPIs of the top sites in different industries, it also allows you to test your own site using the same testing infrastructure as used to compute these values used in the comparison. Go to the SpeedoftheWeb.org and enter your URL. Not only will you get an online result of a tested URL you've entered, you will also get an AJAX Edition Session for download as Speed of the Web uses AJAX Edition to run these tests.
Step 6: Go Beyond Your Browser
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